Two Readers Share Stories About Their Omega Speedmaster Watches
Our recent article about one of our readers and his Speedmaster Mark II inspired some others to share their stories with us. This week, we feature stories from Stuart Lees and Mark Talbot about their Speedmaster Professional watches.
Both stories have one thing in common: it took quite a while before both authors finally purchased the Omega Speedmaster. But it was due to very different reasons, I must add. Stuart bought a number of other Omega watches first, as he didn’t find the Speedmaster an appealing watch in the beginning. He even found it a bit of a boring watch. But when he saw one isolated from any other watch, it enabled him to admire it without any distraction. He then pulled the trigger on a 1989 Speedmaster Professional Apollo XI 20th Anniversary edition.
The other story is from Mark, who remembers admiring the Speedmaster in his father’s car magazines in the 1970s. It was at the time when the last Apollo mission happened. Mark can vividly remember it, despite being only nine years old in 1972. Mark had almost gotten used to the fact that he wouldn’t own a Moonwatch ever in his life… That is until he started reading up on the Speedmaster here on Fratello. Then, in 2022, almost 50 years after he saw the last man on the Moon, he finally purchased the Speedmaster Moonwatch. I hope you will enjoy these stories from Stuart and Mark!
A slow awakening — Stuart Lees
For most Omega collectors, it seems the first watch to grab their attention is the Speedmaster. It wasn’t like that for me. In fact, I thought it was the most boring watch in the world. At least compared to watches like the Ploprof, the Seamaster Banana, and all those cool, funky, and interesting 1970s masterpieces. Compared to those, the Speedmaster seemed totally vanilla.
Other things first
I bought my first Omega in 2009. It was a 1973 Genève Megaquartz with a large square case and a shiny blue dial that changed color depending on how the light hit it. Chronostops, divers, LED gold-plated bricks, and anything that definitely wasn’t a Speedmaster were added to my collection. The one modern Omega that I bought in 2015 was the Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial diver. I never even looked at a Speedmaster when I decided to get my first modern watch.
Speedmaster in the airport
One day, I was at the airport and happened to walk past one of the watch shops. There was a solitary, regular Speedmaster on display by itself, with no other distractions to draw away my attention from the watch. It was the first time I actually looked at a Speedmaster for any length of time or in detail.
My initial reaction was that it was a very nicely balanced watch. It had perfect symmetry, even if the white hands and indices were a bit too stark against the black dial. But that encounter sparked a newfound admiration for the Speedmaster that, up till that point, had been non-existent.
Apollo XI 20th Anniversary
I decided I wanted one, but not a brand-new one and not a very old vintage one either. I liked the warmth of the tritium markers, so I looked for a model from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. Eventually, I settled on a 1989 Apollo 20th Anniversary limited edition with box and papers, bought from a fellow collector on Omega Forums.
The watch arrived in my home country, and I arrived a few months later. I was halfway through my contract at an International School in Malawi. During the summer holidays, I went to visit my family and collected my watch. I decided there and then that I would take it with me and use it as my only watch for the next year.
Speedmaster on adventure
With the watch strapped to my wrist, I headed back to Malawi. It had been a long time since I’d worn only one watch, and I did wonder if doing so would be a painful experience. But I actually enjoyed the process of winding my watch every day, noticing the tiny little details and the fact that by the end of the year, it had been on my wrist while traveling in Africa, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe. We had a lot of shared experiences in such a short period of time.
I wore the same watch while flying over Victoria Falls and watching lions chase antelope in the Serengeti. That Speedmaster was on my wrist while sailing down the Zambezi River, flanked on all sides by crocs and hippos. I even wore it when being attacked by midges in the forests of Finland while out walking in the midnight sun and walking up Mount Hoverla in Ukraine. When I look at my watch today, it reminds me of all those experiences.
Speedy Tuesday models
From starting out being indifferent to Speedmasters, I have added both the Speedy Tuesday 1 and 2 to my collection. I actually bought the ST1 just before my ’89 Apollo LE, but it arrived long after my regular Speedmaster. A year on the wrist really helped me bond with this watch. Now it’s one of the few watches I’ll wear for weeks at a time. It is quite rare for me to wear the same watch two days in a row, never mind two full weeks back to back. But of all the things to be wrong about, being wrong about the Speedmaster is certainly one of the happier revelations.
My 50 year wait for a Speedmaster Moonwatch — Mark Talbot
I was born in 1963, so I don’t remember the Moon landing in 1969. I can only just remember a bit about the Apollo 13 flight. But what I do remember clearly is the last landing on the Moon in 1972. I can remember the picture of the Moon’s surface from the lunar module as it took off for the last time. It was at that time that I also remember seeing the advertisements for the Omega Speedmaster in the Motor magazine that my dad used to buy.
A life without the Moonwatch
I remember thinking that it was the coolest watch I had ever seen. The fact that it was associated with the Space Race and Moon landings was fascinating to a boy of nine or 10 years old. I knew I could not afford to have one at the time, but as I grew older, my interest in the Moonwatch only grew with me. I was determined to buy one once I started work. Well, as many of you can guess, other things got in the way, like buying my first car, getting married, then buying a house. I guess I never had the spare cash to indulge in such a purchase.
Speedy Tuesday articles
By the time I had reached my 40s and could afford a Speedmaster, I’d grown accustomed to the fact that it was a luxury item. I had simply gotten used to living without owing a Moonwatch. Over the years, though, I had always read about the Speedmaster, and when Fratello started, I began to read the articles. Speedy Tuesday was and remains a fantastic series of articles.
As we know, 2022 will mark 50 years since a human being last set foot on the Moon. So late last year, I decided to liquidate some of my savings and finally purchase a Speedmaster Moonwatch. At first, I wanted one from the 1970s so I had a watch from the era when I first became interested in them. But I thought a watch like that could not really be worn on a daily basis and could end up costing a lot to maintain. Therefore, I decided to purchase the newest model I could.
The former Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch
I’d read the article on the new 2021 Speedmaster, but unlike many of your readers, I did not like the bracelet as the clasp was too narrow. So I decided to buy the previous 3188.8.131.52.01.005 model, and last month, I purchased one from 2020, complete with the Moonwatch accessories box. I wear this watch on a regular basis, even to work, and I feel that this Speedmaster will last me for the rest of my life. So, in the end, it’s only taken me 50 years to get around to buying one of the most iconic watches in the world!
Share your Speedmaster stories
Do you feel inspired by the stories above? Shoot us an email with your Speedmaster story and we will get in touch with you. You are also welcome to share your own story in the comments below, of course. We will certainly be happy to read them!